Old Fashioned Fun

Having spent a week without my phone, I reconnected with some entertainment that normally mindless phone time would have occupied. 

I read.

I journalled.

I savored the quiet.

I listened to God for His lessons in this time.

Thankfully, a new battery and less than $100 later, my phone is back good as new. No lost pictures. No permanent damage. No huge expense. I am grateful.

The time without my phone has opened my eyes to how people, myself included, spend our time. The act of everyday conversation is becoming a lost art. People don’t engage with each other as much. Just look around a restaurant. Unless, just maybe, you are at Cracker Barrel.

The other night at Cracker Barrel, I observed table after table engaging with one another over a friendly game. I love these little wooden peg games. In fact, my grandfather made me this one years ago. I will always cherish it.
It was refreshing to see so many people interacting and not on devices. I know that our world has shifted just in my short life to be more focused and centered on technology and various forms of media but breaks from all of it is a great thing.
Spending time with older adults daily in my work is also another great reminder of the need to engage and interact with one another in meaningful conversation.

Our family is planning a media free day for an upcoming weekend. As we look forward to this time to connect undistracted, we are very aware that we need to be intentional about our plans. 

The world that God created is too amazing of a place to let everyday moments pass by because our attention is focused downwards on a device.

What are your ideas for old fashioned fun?

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Being Brave

Being brave doesn’t have to be a huge heroic act.

Being brave looks different for everyone.

Being brave might mean…

  • Being honest in love and truth with someone about something that is bothering you
  • Taking communion to shut-ins when you feel unequipped
  • Saying no to something you don’t feel right about even if everyone else is saying yes
  • Submitting a writing piece 
  • Choosing faith over fear
  • Not retreating into your phone because it is easier than engaging in conversation

Being brave means you are ready to accept the unknown. You are saying with courage that this feels strangely uncomfortable.

For me, being brave is telling my mind that I will not second guess my decision. I will trust my instincts, make a decision, learn from it, let it go, and move on. Instead of second guessing myself and being anxious, I will choose to be brave.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Today, choose to be brave. Trust God and take that first step into the unknown.

Worship Wednesday

On my commute home from work tonight, I heard a woman who had called into K-Love say that she was declaring Wednesday as “Worship Wednesday.” She was going to take  5 minutes of her Wednesday to simply worship God…to thank Him for all He is doing in her life.

What a great idea. No prayers of God…please I need this but simply taking time to reflect and thank God.

What am I thankful for today?

I am thankful, God, for the lessons You are teaching me in these moments of quietness without my cellphone. I am thankful for reading books again when I may have mindlessly flipped through apps on my cellphone.

I am thankful for really good sleep last night after working a 3rd shift with my staff.

I am thankful for resisting the temptation to drink pop today.

I am thankful for friends and family who listen and who care.

I am thankful for a great Christian resource I found on anxiety.

I am thankful for continued progress step by step, day by day in this work life balance.

I am thankful for a job that I love despite its challenges. I am thankful for all the ways You are using it to grow me.

Most of all, God, I am thankful that You love me despite my flaws, my imperfections, my mistakes…You love me for simply being me.

work-for-the-lord

Blessings in our Mistakes

It happened so suddenly. It was a simple daily task. Washing dishes. I needed music. Perhaps, I should have heeded to the warning voice that suggested that setting my cell phone in the windowsill above the sink full of soapy dishwater was possibly a recipe for potential disaster…but I didn’t. Instead, I set the phone there and listened to music as I scrubbed the sink of dirty dishes.

It slipped…I am not sure why, but my phone ended up swimming in the soapy water. I rescued it and dried it and all appeared fine. Hours later when I went to plug it in to charge it, all was not well. The phone shut off and would not hold a charge.

Life without a cellphone is….quiet.

On the way to church yesterday morning, I asked God…what good can come out of a cellphone damaged by water? All my earthly mind could think of was $$$. And being inconvenienced.

During church after the sermon, the pastor gave everyone 60 seconds of silence. (Do I see a theme in my life lately??) It was in this moment of silence that God reminded me that good things can come from a cellphone damaged by water. He cares about everyday things in our lives. In the words of one of my friends…God can fix our mistakes.

So, in what ways are my eyes being opened by a water damaged cellphone?

  • The love of my husband…no judgment, no what were you thinking…Nope, just, “Honey, it’s a cell phone. We’ll get it fixed or get it replaced. No big deal.”
  • Patience. Life can be lived without immediate gratification at our fingertips. It really can.
  • God is a jealous God. What exactly does this mean? Jeremiah 29:13 promises, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. How distracted have I been by my phone?
  •  In my desire for quiet, I can attest to this…life without a cell phone is quiet.

My phone is in a cellular repair shop awaiting a new battery. Fortunately, the repairman says it looks like my phone did not suffer water damage beyond the battery being shorted. Leaving my cellphone at the repair shop felt a bit, well, unnerving like leaving my third child behind. I know…dramatic, but it just goes to illustrate how dependent I have become on it. Yes, there are many wonderful things I can do on my cellphone including using my BibleGateway app, but it also has become a huge source of distraction, a source of mind numbing apps when my brain is tired after work, and a blockage from meaningful conversation with others. Just scan the people eating at any restaurant. I know I am not alone.

So, yes, by the end of the week, I will once again rejoin modern society with a cellphone. But, I hope the lessons I am learning from a week without a cellphone will change a few things in my life…communication, relationships, being more intentional with my time.

From Galatians 5:22-23 The Message…But what happens when we live God’s way?  He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard-things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to  marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Six months ago, I would have defined living as God’s way as doing the right thing, being obedient…all my responses driven by things I could do. Now, I see living God’s way as living a surrendered life. Not a perfect life. Not a life free from mistakes. A life that says here I am God, I am Yours, use me, shape me, grow me.

What happens when we live God’s way? He opens our eyes to the blessings in our mistakes.

blessings-in-mistakes

Moments…

A few days ago, I wrote about the noise on the basketball court. Tonight, God spoke to me through that noise.

I was late to my son’s game. Always running out of work… Always a few minutes late.

I made my way into the stands. I saw him there…charging down the court, full of confidence. He shot. He missed but he had made the attempt. Moments later, he snatched the ball, charged down the court again, and made that basket.

He made his shot. 

I made it for his moment.

Life can quickly become routine. Work, household chores, games, sleep, repeat. It can become so easy to get lost in motions and lose sight of the moments. 

Life is really a beautiful collection of moments.

Tonight, no, I did not see the start of the game. I did witness his moment, though. His confidence. His shot. His basket. Slapping the hands of his teammates. Teamwork.
I have been focusing on my shortcomings for too long. I have been dwelling on dreams not yet reached. I have been harboring guilt at being late to games. I have been placing a lot of pressure on myself to be all things.

I have been exhausted. I am not all things.

Christ is enough, and in Christ, I am enough.

Yes, I need to find a better work life balance. Yes, I need to improve my communication. Yes, I want to grow as a leader. Yes, I have many dreams I still yearn to reach. Yes, I continue to work through my anxiety struggles and second guessing.

But, you know what? I am making progress. Through the noise, I can hear God’s love and grace.

I am learning to let go of second guessing myself.

I am learning to give myself permission to not be perfect.

I am learning to make the most of moments. Everyday life moments.
Sometimes, it takes a little noise to grab our attention. 

Be present for the moments that matter.

Noise

Have you ever felt completely surrounded by noise?

Yesterday, as I sat in the bleachers at my son’s basketball game, I felt surrounded by noise. The game was intense as the score was close. Parents were yelling out differing opinions on calls to the referees. Everything seemed to echo in the gymnasium. It was one of those mornings where the fibro fog from fibromyalgia made me feel like I haven’t slept in days despite having had 7 hours of sleep. 

I love to watch my son play sports. I will support him in the sporting events he chooses. I don’t understand, though, the intensity of a junior high basketball game. I don’t understand the angry outcries of parents at the referees. It makes me sad to hear parents scream at their children for not playing as they think they should. I mean.. it is nice to win but in a year, month, day, even an hour…Does it really matter who won? It all feels like noise.

Sports are great for building teamwork. They have the potential to teach healthy competition. The reality is that most kids won’t get college scholarships and even fewer will play professional sports.

Basketball is not my son’s favorite sport. He doesn’t play a lot in the game. Thankfully, he has been able to let that go and not get upset. He has shared with us that basketball is not his love. From my end as a parent, there is no pressure placed on him. We simply ask that he does his best and embodies positive teamwork. The rest is just noise.

This isn’t just about noise at a sporting event. It is about noise in life. Noise is always around us. We hear people talking. They send messages to us, some positive, some negative. We have noises from within-those voices in our heads. We can listen to messages screaming that we need to work harder, try harder, that we are not good enough OR we can listen to the voices that tell us we are good enough when we rest in His grace and strength.

Competition is okay. Pushing ourselves towards goals is wonderful. Teamwork is great. Those things are not the problem…it is the noise. It is all about the messages we hear in the noise around us and what we choose to do with the noise. 

Having goals, pushing ourselves, playing hard are all great. Sometimes, we need some silence from the noise to regroup. When we are grounded in where our worth comes from, then it makes those hard days, those losing games, those disappointments, a little easier to endure. 

Even in the noise, we can silence the voices to hear the voice of truth. We are always enough in Him.

A Time for Rest

Tired. 

I hate when I come home from work tired. Exhausted. Emotionally drained. Mentally spent. All creative energy zapped.

I wish I was here…

But, of course, I am not. Instead, I am sitting in my recliner wishing I had the energy to do something productive. I am scrolling through Facebook looking at all the other productive people.

And, that’s where I must step back for a moment, pause, reflect, and give myself permission to rest. It’s okay to have days like these. It is okay to not accomplish all my goals and dreams tonight. It is okay to rest.

Resting is not something I do well. Giving myself permission to rest is something that I really do not do well.

New year, new opportunities. Maybe one of the opportunities God wants me to embrace is the opportunity to rest. 

Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Maybe tonight, I am supposed to simply rest. And be okay with that.